IN PHOTOS: EDSA Revolution: Not just in 4 days

Romeo Mariano

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IN PHOTOS: EDSA Revolution: Not just in 4 days
The street protests in EDSA in February 1986 were the culmination of the numerous marches and rallies demanding the ouster of the dictator

MANILA, Philippines — I was still learning photography when Ninoy Aquino was assassinated in 1983. The death of the husband and father of two Philippine presidents, Corazon Aquino and Benigno Aquino III, fueled street protests all over the country that became the theme of my new-found passion.

Street protests showed the unity of the people against an oppressive government. It became urgent for me to document their camaraderie, courage, and issues through photography.

In 1984, I joined PhotoBank, a group of photographers with the same passion and objective – to produce not just informative images but also those calling for social change.

MENDIOLA RALLY. Before EDSA, protesters held marches and rallies in Mendiola, Manila, near the Malacañan Palace.

BARRICADES. Outside Metro Manila, protesters were already facing soldiers and blocking tanks out to destroy their barricades.

NPA. Before the rebel soldiers led by the RAM became heroes, the New Peoples Army were already gaining the sympathy of the masses.

LEADERS. Prominent personalities and progressive politicians then always led the street protests.

WOULD-BE PRESIDENT. Cory Aquino, then just a plain housewife, addresses the crowd at the wake of her husband, Ninoy in Sto Domingo church in Quezon City.

The numerous street protests were a prelude to the more massive mass action that culminated in EDSA in February 1986, that forced Marcos to leave the country.

PEOPLE POWER. People start gathering in EDSA in the evening of Feb 22, 1986, when then Vice Chief of Staff Fidel Ramos and Defense Minister Juan Ponce Enrile announced their withdrawal from the Marcos government.

KAPIT-BISIG. Like previous street protests, people link arms whenever there are enemy forces out to break up their assemblies.

MASS ACTION. The mass of people even overspilled in EDSA. Along Panay Avenue in Quezon City, people gather to support rebel soldiers poised to takeover government TV stations.

STORMING THE PALACE. Upon hearing news that Marcos left the country, people storm the gates of the Malacañan Palace on February 25, 1986. Anger was replaced by joy and renewed hope for a better life.

Thirty years on, the street protests continue. I still can hear the familiar chants, minus the name Marcos. Aside from the reduced number of protesters and faces of leaders, nothing really changed. Like poverty and social injustice 3 decades ago. 

STREET PROTESTS. Today, street protesters still slug it out with the authorities.

POVERTY REMAINS. EDSA was a renewed hope and a promise. A promise waiting for  realization.


Romeo Mariano is a photographer for the Quezon City government. On his free time, Romy documents poverty and social injustice, issues that existed way before he started with photography.

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